In Texas, no flower is safe from the reach of Denton-based artist Candice McEnturff, 33. Whether she spots them in her yard or while accompanying her partner Sean Callahan, a university kinesiology student, for a round of disc golf, the artist never wastes an opportunity to pick flowers from the soil to be used for a future art piece. A full-time artist well versed in a wide range of disciplines, Candice has blossomed into a Denton fixture whose creative talent is impossible to uproot.
Pressed flowers and ferns trapped in resin can be found in a number of items she crafts, from earrings to suncatchers to trinket jars. Florals are just one of many trademarks found in her art brand Candy Artworks, another being functionality.
“I’ve been trying so hard to make things that are functional, things that can fit in your home and be completely functional to your life, but also look nice and feel nice,” Candice said. “I’m always experimenting.”
Having made the jump to becoming a full-time artist, Candice is always keeping herself busy. She has recently convinced some boutiques to pick up and carry her art, one in Fort Worth and another in Denison, Texas. In addition to that, she is making 40 to 60 pairs of earrings a week and is vending at various events throughout Dallas-Fort Worth each weekend.
“I’m wanting to get into as many homes and lives as possible,” Candice said.
Navigating through life has not come without its challenges for Candice. She has had to contend with seizures and autoimmune diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, along the way. Candice said she speaks out about her autoimmune diseases so that other people who have them can know that they are not alone.
“People who don’t have it, or have never known someone that has one […] they don’t understand it, because it’s something you can’t see,” Candice said. “I could be having a flare-up, and you’d have no idea, but I’m physically and mentally going through a lot.”
Candice said she was properly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she eventually became older as symptoms worsened.
“My whole life, the doctors couldn’t figure out why I was always sick,” Candice said. “I was called a hypochondriac. […] I want to show people that you can’t let it hold you down. […] You can still go for everything you want in life.”
The road to success for Candice was hampered by the pandemic as well. She could no longer keep doing Candy’s Paint ‘n’ Sip, a pop-up painting workshop that she taught and managed, and lost half of her income as a result.
“As everyone knows, the ‘starving artist’ is still very alive and well […] it’s a real struggle,” Candice said. “You can only imagine the things I’ve had to mentally overcome just to keep doing this full-time.”
Candice said one of her biggest sources of support is Callahan, whom she met in 2015 while balancing her bartending job with her artistic pursuits. Callahan’s arrival would highlight a period in Candice’s life where walking away from bartending and pursuing art full-time was becoming increasingly tempting.
“I told Sean, ‘This is my last bartending job,’” Candice said. “I told him over and over and over.”
Candice decided to try her first portrait, a depiction of Jim Morrison from the Doors, in 2018 because Callahan loved the band. She later submitted the piece to a university art show, as the profits were going to be donated to a good cause. However, Candice said no one was necessarily trying to buy her piece. After asking an event organizer what happens to paintings that fail to sell, she paid to get her Morrison portrait back.
“I still have that Jim Morrison in my studio when you walk in, just as a reminder of where it all began,” Candice said.
Callahan echoed the importance of the Morrison painting, which he will not let anyone buy off of him. He said comparing it to some of Candice’s more recent works demonstrates how far she has come as an artist.
“That was really her first portrait, and she was so hard on herself about it,” Callahan said. “Now she’s doing all this resin stuff, we never thought we’d even be here to this point. It’s really cool.”
“He has stuck by my side so much through all of this,” Candice said. “He’s rode through all of it with me while he’s been going to school.”
Candice’s father, Terry McEnturff, 64, is another one of her main supporters.
“My dad’s the GOAT,” Candice said. “My dad’s always been a collector of sorts, especially if I showed interest in something, then he becomes obsessed with collecting it for me, which is the sweetest thing ever.”
Despite living in Lancaster, TX, the elder McEnturff never hesitates to drive out to Denton to attend the local events Candice participates in and is constantly scavenging across Dallas for materials she can use.
“I go to flea markets, I go to thrift stores, antique shops, estate sales, I go to Ross,” Terry said. “Anytime I can find a piece that she can turn into a masterpiece […] I get it, and she makes it beautiful.”
Since moving to Denton with Callahan in early 2020, Candice has regularly displayed her work at local events and showcases. Candice said meeting other artists was her number one goal when she moved here.
“I’m really big on getting to know the other people that I’m going to be around at markets and things like that, that’s like family,” Candice said. “When you start doing events with these people all the time, you see them weekly, it feels like family.”
Candice said she particularly enjoys showing up for events in Denton. She can always be found at Every Witch Way, a market in Denton put on and sponsored by Bewitched, a local witch store. She also hosts her shop at the regular events held at Red’s Yard in Denton.
Looking to the future, Candice hopes to find a bigger studio, hire an assistant and secure a curating space of her own one day.
“It is actually a future goal of mine, somewhere in my career, to have a physical, brick-and-mortar place that’s also a gallery for locals,” Candice said. “I’ve been trying to manifest that for years now.”
More about Candice and her work can be found on her website candyartworks.com.
Featured Image: Candice McEnturff poses with her table at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio on May 21, 2022. Photo by John Anderson